Suing for Punitive Damages in Holyoke

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Litigation Lawyers in Holyoke

In Holyoke, Massachusetts, civil litigation serves the main purpose of compensating individuals who have been victims of wrongdoing, and not meting out punishment, vengeance, or moral judgment.

This basic principle is subject to an significant exception, however. There are cases where a judge in Holyoke, Massachusetts will order a defendant to pay the plaintiff a sum of money which is not calculated based on actual harm the plaintiff has suffered. These are called "punitive damages" and serve the purpose of punishing and deterring wrongdoing.

Punitive Damages in Holyoke, Massachusetts are not awarded easily, because the civil justice system usually disfavors giving plaintiffs financial windfalls not directly related to compensating them for their injuries. They are usually only awarded when the conduct of the defendant is morally reprehensible, and far worse than simple carelessness.

Conduct that can give rise to punitive damages in Holyoke, Massachusetts

A majority of personal injury litigation actions in Holyoke, Massachusetts do not involve the possibility of punitive damages, because they typically involve injuries where the defendant is at fault for the harm caused, but did not intend to do any harm. In Holyoke, Massachusetts, accidental harm may be enough to award the plaintiff compensatory damages, but it is not enough for punitive damages.

In Holyoke, Massachusetts, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme cases. Civil wrongs such as fraud, conversion (theft), battery, and other intentional, depraved acts are sufficient to award punitive damages. In deciding whether or not to award punitive damages, and how much money to award, courts in Holyoke, Massachusetts will consider many different factors. Typically, they employ a sliding scale, weighing the nature of the conduct and the actual harm that the conduct caused. The more immoral the conduct, and/or the more harm caused, the more likely a court is to award punitive damages.

You should be cognizant of the fact that there are some pretty severe limits on punitive damages in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that there are constitutional limits on punitive damage awards. Punitive damages can't be too disproportionate to the actual damages that the plaintiff has suffered. Appeals courts have found that excessive punitive damage awards violate the defendant's right to due process, by depriving them of considerable amounts of property.

Punitive damages in Holyoke, Massachusetts typically cannot surpass 10 times the amount of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff. Nonetheless, this is just a guideline, and not a strict rule. Courts in Massachusetts have found larger punitive damage awards to be perfectly valid, and smaller ones to be invalid. This will be strongly dependent on the facts of each case.

How Can a Holyoke, Massachusetts Attorney Help?

The law of Holyoke, Massachusetts doesn't lay out many strict conditions which are necessary before punitive damages can be authorized. Instead, it largely leaves it to the discretion of the courts. So, there are various situations where they might be awarded.

If you have been hurt in Holyoke, Massachusetts and you think punitive damages might be justified, a large amount of money might be at stake. For that reason, you should not delay to consult a civil litigation attorney in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

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Life in Holyoke

Holyoke is named for Elizur Holyoke who, in 1660, explored the area that is today incorporated into Hampden County. Holyoke is a Massachusetts city in close proximity to Springfield and has classically been a haven for Irish immigrants. Holyoke hosts the United States largest Saint Partick's Day Parade which annually attracts nearly 500,000 visitors each year. Holyoke has recently seen a vast influx of Puerto Rican and Latino immigrants yielding an annual Puerto Rican Day Parade on the third week of July. The parade is complete with food, music, and more. It's organized as part of the Annual Hispanic Family Festival which is put on by La Familia Hispana Incorporated. The festival and parade have drastically increased in popularity over time and attract Latinos from across the northeast. Holyoke is called home by a number of lawyers as well. Holyoke lawyers are familiar with local Hampden County courts and advise on a variety of cases.  

Holyoke maintains a number of year-round attractions as well. Some of the attractions include the Holyoke Cana System, Mount Tom, shopping at Holyoke Mall, trails like Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, a collegiate baseball team, and most notably the Dinosaur Footprints Reservation where visitors can see perfectly preserved footprints from prehistoric dinosaurs along the Connecticut River. 

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